The next three signings will determine whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign at Manchester United is a success.
On the evidence of the opening month of the season, his priorities must be midfield catalysts – the creative sparks who can unlock defences with a killer pass or moment of inspiration – and another exciting forward like Jadon Sancho.
I refuse to entertain the knee-jerk reaction of fans who call up Six-0-Six and say Ole must go.
A global institution like Manchester United must never fall into the trap of hiring and firing managers every nine months.
But the warning signs for Solskjaer are there: Just three wins in 16 games, including home defeats by Cardiff and Crystal Palace, is not good enough. I’m not advocating the same outcome, but a similar run cost Javi Gracia his job at Watford.
One clean sheet in 19 games doesn’t look great on paper, either.
I like the look of United’s revamped back four. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are going to improve them defensively.
And although they have dropped points from winning positions at Wolves and Southampton, I like the way Solskjaer has got his team playing on the front foot again.
There are encouraging signs that the fans are getting their old United back.
But further up the pitch, they need an extra layer of magic to kill off teams.
I watched Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick at Vincent Kompany’s testimonial across town and thought Solskjaer would give his eye teeth for such creativity in United’s midfield now.
I’ve seen Declan Rice’s name linked with United, but a holding midfielder is not their priority.
In January, or the next two transfer windows if necessary, Solskjaer must go all-out to land players the calibre of Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes.
Eriksen and Fernandes can pick a pass and open up defences. Those are the qualities United need to make sure they fall the right side of fine margins.
It’s important that Solskjaer identifies a piece that fits the jigsaw: If he throws big money at a misfit like Angel Di Maria or Fred, he will find it much harder to restore United to the top four.
And I have to say I am surprised the club allowed both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave in the transfer window without replacing them.
For all of Marcus Rashford’s maturity, Daniel James’ rich promise, Anthony Martial’s pace and Mason Greenwood’s exciting potential, I wonder if United have enough firepower to last the course.
That’s why I would pull out all the stops to bring Sancho back to England from Borussia Dortmund, which would enable Rashford or Martial to release their full potential as a No.9 centre forward.
Sign one or two creative midfielder and a top-class forward, and I believe Solskjaer will be ready to challenge for the title again next season.
This team would take some stopping: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Pogba, Fernandes, Sancho, Eriksen, James, Rashford.
Miss the boat, or sign jigsaw pieces that don’t fit, and he will find it harder to leave behind six years of under-achievement since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Before a ball was kicked last month, I tipped United to finish fourth.
But when he faces Leicester, £80 million world record defender Maguire’s old club, this weekend, Solskjaer will be up against one of the teams capable of denying United a top-four finish.
And Solskjaer will be without Martial and Paul Pogba, his top scorer last season. Without names like those, the squad looks threadbare.
For the first time in years, I can see six clubs scrambling for the other two Champions League places behind Manchester City and Liverpool – Tottenham, Arsenal, United, Chelsea, Leicester and Everton.
How timely that United should be playing Leicester: What would Solskjaer give for a 20-goal striker like Jamie Vardy right now?